My Take: Science and spirituality should be friends
February 15th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

My Take: Science and spirituality should be friends

Editor's Note: Deepak Chopra is founder of the Chopra Foundation and a senior scientist at the Gallup Organization. He has authored over 60 books, including The Soul of Leadership, which The Wall Street Journal called one of five best business books about careers.

By Deepak Chopra, Special to CNN

For most people, science deserves its reputation for being opposed to religion.

I'm not thinking of the rather noisy campaign by a handful of die-hard atheists to demote and ridicule faith.

I'm thinking instead of Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution has proved victorious over the Book of Genesis and its story of God creating the universe in seven days. Since then, God has been found wanting when measured against facts and data. With no data to support the existence of God, there is also no reason for religion and science to close the gap between them.

Yet the gap has indeed been closing.

Religion and spirituality didn't go away just because organized religion has been losing its hold, as suggested by showing decades of  declining church attendance in the U.S. and Western Europe.

Despite the noisy atheists, two trends in spirituality and science have started to converge. One is the trend to seek God outside the church. This has given rise to a kind of spirituality based on personal experience, with an openness to accept Eastern traditions like meditation and yoga as legitimate ways to expand one's consciousness.

If God is to be found anywhere, it is inside the consciousness of each person. Even in the Christian West we have the assurance of Jesus that the kingdom of heaven is within, while the Old Testament declares, "Be still and know that I am God."

The other trend is a growing interest by scientists in questions about consciousness.

Twenty years ago, a respectable researcher couldn't ask daring questions such as "do we live in an intelligent universe?" or "Is there mind outside the body?" That's because materialism rules science; it is the core of the scientific worldview that reality is constructed out of physical building blocks - tiny things like atoms and quarks - whose motion is essentially random.

When you use words like "intelligence" and "design" in discussing the patterns in nature, immediately you are tarred with the same brush as creationists, who have hijacked those terms to defend their religious beliefs.

But time brings change, and next week my foundation is hosting a symposium in Southern California where the gap between science and spirituality will be narrow somewhat, not on the basis of religion but on the basis of consciousness.

Outside the view of the general public, science has reached a critical point. The physical building blocks of the universe have gradually vanished; that is, atoms and quarks no longer seem solid at all but are actually clouds of energy, which in turn disappear into the void that seems to be the source of creation.

Was mind also born in the same place outside space and time? Is the universe conscious? Do genes depend on quantum interactions? Science aims to understand nature down to its very essence, and now these once radical questions, long dismissed as unscientific, are unavoidable.

My conference, called the Sages and Scientists Symposium: The Merging of A New Future, is only one in a wave of gatherings through which hundreds of researchers are working to define a new paradigm for the relationship between spirituality and science.

It is becoming legitimate to talk of invisible forces that shape creation - not labeling them as God but as the true shapers of reality beyond the space/time continuum. A whole new field known as quantum biology has sprung up, based on a true breakthrough - the idea that the total split between the micro world of the quantum and the macro world of everyday things may be a false split.

If so, science will have to account for why the human brain, which lives in the macro world, derives its intelligence from the micro world. Either atoms and molecules are smart, or something makes them smart.

That something, I believe, will come down to a conscious universe.

Agree or disagree, you cannot simply toss the question out the window. It turns out that the opposition of science to religion is a red herring. The real goal of a new science will be to expand our reality so that spiritual truths are acceptable, along with many other subjective experiences that science has long dismissed as unreliable.

We are conscious beings who live with purpose and meaning. It seems unlikely that these arose form a random, meaningless universe. The final answer to where they came from may shake science to its core. I certainly hope it does.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Deepak Chopra.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Leaders • Opinion • Science

soundoff (1,568 Responses)
  1. blake

    I find Chopra's comments arrogant and misleading. Darwinism is a theory, not a fact. A theory chalked full of problems and major unanswered questions. Intelligent design on the otherhand has much to commend it. What takes more faith, believing that an intelligent being created the intracacies of the universe on a macro or a micro level. Or that all of this just happened as a result of time and chance?

    February 15, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • JohnQuest

      blake, are you saying that it is easier to believe that unknowable being outside our time, space, matter and understanding that knows everything, can do anything created everything? In contrast, you are right, we do not know everything, everyday we are learning more about us and the universe. Question, since God created everything should we stop looking for alternative answers to questions like (how did the universe start, how and why are we here, what is the meaning, if any of life and death?

      February 15, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • BRod

      blake: do you believe the theory of gravity to also be just a theory? I don't think you understand what the word "theory" means in regards to science.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • blake

      John, what if this intelligent designer took the initiative to reveal Himself to His creation? Christianity is built around this belief, that we did not find God, but He took the initiative to make Himself understandable to us. Part of how He has revealed Himself is through creation itself. It points to a creator. The theories science has developed to explain origins are so far fetched it is amazing to me that any thinking person can consider them without laughing out loud.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Nonimus

      Evolution is both a theory and a fact. http://www.nationalacademies.org/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html
      Intelligent Design has nothing to 'commend' it. It produces no predictions, it yields no understanding, and has no explanatory power other than 'some thing design it'. Or, 'We don't know what it is, how it does anything, and we can't definitely say that it exist, but never the less we say the universe was designed because we think it is too complicated to figure out.'

      February 15, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • David Johnson


      I feel it is my duty to stamp out Fundie ignorance!

      Evangelicals are really fond of saying Evolution is "just a theory". I have seen several people on these blogs explain, that the use of the term theory by science is not the same as the term used in common usage.

      I think fundies just don't want to acknowledge that "theory", as used by science, is accepted as factual by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology.

      In layman’s terms, if something is said to be “just a theory,” it usually means that it is a mere guess, or is unproved. It might even lack credibility.

      But in scientific terms, a theory implies that something has been proven and is generally accepted as being true.
      Here is what these terms means to a scientist:

      HYPOTHESIS: This is an educated guess based upon observation. It is a rational explanation of a single event or phenomenon based upon what is observed, but which has not been proved. Most hypotheses can be supported or refuted by experimentation or continued observation.
      This would be like the layman's use of the word theory.

      THEORY: A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. – Source: http://www.wilstar.com/theories.htm

      I am sure Evangelicals will always scream "It's Just a theory". They are desperate. They can see their god drowning in a sea of scientific discoveries. LOL


      February 15, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  2. Austin

    What to make of all of these stories? See link below.


    February 15, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Estevan

      So what?

      None of these stories prove the existence of a god.

      Personally I think that thanking god cheapens the human experience. People get through tough times because of the support they get from other human beings, because of their own strength and will, because of medicine, because of luck, etc....

      Let's give credit where credit is due. People accomplish things and get through tough times by themselves and/or with the help of others. There is no god or gods there guiding them.

      February 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  3. Faisal

    the whole thing is foolish... people whether they admit it or not have a relationship to something and that is always on-going. doesn't matter who you are, people are always learning.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  4. Elle

    That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.
    Albert Einstein

    February 15, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Which just goes to show how tied up in emotion we can be, irregardless of intelligence. How we are raised and our experiences have more to do with our beliefs than anything else. Other equally brilliant physicists had/have absolutely no faith in any kind of "Higher intelligence".
      Belief is based purely on emotion/need.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  5. David P

    Why would you give a soap box to this idiot? Deepak is an anti science crank, whose spiritual/science jargon has no basis in reality. Just because Deepak says stuff, does not mean that it is true. In fact it usually means the opposite.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • BRod

      Same reason they give the comment soapbox to idiots like you.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • MarkinFL

      You notice that the article is in the "belief" area, not tech or science??? Bit of a giveaway there...

      February 15, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  6. joeyjoejoe

    There are so many facts of science that we can't experience with our senses of sight, touch, smell, taste, or hear. For example, the vast majority of the electromagnetic spectrum is impossible to sense without the help out technology, but that doesn't stop the electromagnetic spectrum from existing.
    Besides light, people knew nothing else of the electromagnetic spectrum. Now we know the incredible scope of it.
    I think spirituality is the same way. We have no technological instruments to measure it yet, however, just because science can't yet measure it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
    I think people with finite brains shouldn't arrogantly denounce the existence of an infinite God. That just reeks of arrogance.
    I think people have only two sides to stand on– a decided religious faith, or agnosticism.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Eric G.

      The arrogance is making an argument from as-sumption that your God exists and that your God is the creator of everything. I do not make claims of absolute certainty unless the evidence presented is demonstrative. The arrogance of those making claims of absolute knowledge without any supporting evidence will never allow for understanding between belief and science. You do not have to prove something exists. You need to develop a theory that something exists and provide evidence to support it.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Shannon

      By this argument, there is one side only-agnosticism. If you can't totally rule it out, than you certainly can't make something up and think it is "the way".

      February 15, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Nonimus

      "...just because science can't yet measure it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
      I think people with finite brains shouldn't arrogantly denounce the existence of an infinite God."

      Just to be fair just because science can't yet measure it doesn't mean it *does* exist either. Isn't it equally arrogant to claim the existence of God and therefore isn't the only reasonable position one of agnosticism?

      February 15, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Anglican

      Eric G. You must understand that you do not have to believe in anything. You do not, and should not be hostile toward people of faith. Your choice. Have faith or not. Peace.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I'm also equally agnostic about unicorns, fairies and Bigfoot, et al.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • NL

      You're right, we don't have to believe in God if we don't want to, but it's difficult to ignore all the folks who do believe in him, especially if you're a gay person wishing to get married, or if you're hoping for a stem cell therapy any time soon.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Anglican

      NL. That is just bull. The Episocpal Church welcomes all people regardless. You can not put all in the same basket.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • NL

      The Episocpal Church may welcomes all people, but where is their voice raised in opposition to those Christians who do exclude? Why do moderate Christians, or moderate people of any faith for that matter, allow the extremists to do all the talking? Maybe if you all bothered to make some noise you wouldn't get swept up with the others?

      February 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @Anglican: How am I being hostile? Those that threaten others with hell for having different world views are being hostile. While I don't share your views, your posts do provide insight as to why you believe what you do. Please do not decend to the "victim believer" ranks. I will make it as simple as possible for future discourse. If you make claims about your beliefs and make threats to back them up, I have the right to demand evidence that supports your claims. If you do not provide this evidence, you are being dishonest. That is not being hostile. If you cannot defend your position, please do not engage in the debate.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:24 am |
  7. Doc Vestibule

    Dr. Greg Graffin's PHD thesis "Evolution, Monism, Atheism, and the Naturalist World-View" found that only 10 percent of the eminent evolutionary scientists who answered the poll saw an inevitable conflict between religion and evolution. The great majority see no conflict between religion and evolution, not because they occupy different, noncompeting magisteria, but because they see religion as a natural product of human evolution. The eminent evolutionists who participated in this poll reject the basic tenets of religion, such as gods, life after death, incorporeal spirits or the supernatural. Yet they still hold a compatible view of religion and evolution, but only if religion is treated as a social adaptation.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  8. Jojaam

    Where is the proof that love exists? Where is the proof that anger exists? In the way we show it right? Well for me, that is the way i know God, my creator, exists. You don't have to agree with me but don't tell me that God has been proven wrong because there is no proof. He reveals Himself to me each and everyday.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Jojaam, that's an interesting point. God exist because you exist, now my question is, if you did not exist would God exist? I guess what I'm asking is (clumsily I admit) is God existence intrinsic, would God exist if there were no one to believe God exist? An example, Bears exist even if there were no humans that believed or ever seen one.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • oriental

      JohnQuest.. Thats right if i dont exist then god inside me doesnt exist... but just like god I never cease to exist ... my body may cease to exist but I dont.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • MarkinFL

      In what way does your god show its existence? Perhaps you are misinterpreting the signs. People misinterpret emotions all of the time and confuse behaviors of others based on their own way of viewing the world. Anger and love do not exist in the objective sense as they are subjective feelings that cause us to act out in various ways depending on the individual.

      It IS a very good analogy for belief in gods though.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • David Johnson


      No one can prove a negative. No one can prove absolutely that something does not exist. I cannot "prove" Santa or the Easter Bunny does not exist. No one can.

      But in life, we do decide by a preponderance of the evidence, whether something exists or not.

      1 Corinthians 13:11
      When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

      When I was 5, I believed in magic and things unseen. When I was 7, I gave up childish notions.
      Childish beliefs should be abandoned by every adult, if they haven't done it earlier.

      We reject Santa, because we know that there are children who don't receive any toys for Christmas. Kids of rich parents receive more and better toys than the poor kids. Carrying all those toys and sliding down chimneys is not believable. Saying Santa is magic doesn't satisfy us.

      Santa doesn't fit in with how things really are. The jolly old elf, just isn't probable.

      God is like Santa. He is a fictional being. He doesn't fit in, with how things really are.

      Because believers want god to be real, they use selective observation, make excuses and hold onto expectations that are very,very unlikely – Jesus has been dead for 2000+ years. He hasn't returned, in spite of predicting a 1st Century 2nd Coming.

      All the born again believers will float up to heaven, someday...always someday.

      When we die, our souls survive to be rewarded or punished. Like Santa, you will receive more or less gifts, depending on what the elf observes. So you better watch out. You better not pout... an invisible somebody is watching you all the time. LOL

      Bad things happen to good people. Bad people often live long lives in the sun.

      God is all good. But there is so much suffering in the world. God did horrible things in the Old Testament. Reality, calls this "all good" attribute into question.

      Prayer does not work. Jesus made promises about prayer, that you can test. So test them. Ask for anything – A new car, world peace, that Jesus would appear to you... or, move a mountain. Faith will move a mountain. You seem like a faith filled sort of guy.

      When people pray, they are talking to themselves. When god starts talking to them, we start to worry. We believe it is a sign of mental illness. If people really thought god existed, why would they worry when god speaks to someone?

      There are no miracles. Miracles are just the product of coincidence and random chance. Or, deception and fraud.

      Science can find no use for god. All the gaps in man's knowledge, that are currently filled by god, are being replaced by scientific discoveries. The Supernatural is being transformed to the natural.

      Evolution has dispelled the myth of creation. There is tons of evidence for Evolution. None for Creation.

      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there could not have been original sin. If no original sin, then all the suffering humans and animals endure, could not be because of it. If no original sin, then there is no need for a redeemer. If no redeemer, then why is there Christianity?

      So Jojaam, there is more evidence that there is no god then is for there being a god. Your belief in god is based on faith. Faith in something does not make it true. Faith without evidence is worthless.

      I claim there is no god, with the same confidence that I claim there is no Santa or Easter Bunny.

      If extraordinary evidence surfaces, that Santa exists, I will embrace him. Every adult should take this stand. God is just the Santa for adults.


      February 15, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  9. Karloff

    The gap between science and spirituality is closing because those who believe in religion and spirituality are corrupting the purpose and intent of science to bolster their delusional beliefs.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • MarkinFL

      The gap is being closed in much the way the gap on a spark plug is reduced over time. Pretty much full of ....

      February 15, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  10. Tallgrass05

    "We are conscious beings who live with purpose and meaning."

    We are conscious but, but we exist because we can. There is no purpose or meaning to our lives except those we decide to impart.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Frank

      It takes a lot of faith to believe what you just said.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Frank, believing anything more is nothing but faith.

      We are, therefore we are.( To abusively paraphrase.)

      February 15, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  11. Noah Benzing

    This is a big steamy pile of poo.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  12. FMCH



    February 15, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  13. Thomas Jones

    Let's face up kids. Organized religion is Organized crime. Has been since time began. None of the major religions are based on scientific fact just myth from centuries before retold for a purpose. God is everywhere and the more you learn about science and the mystery of life the more you appreciate God.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Carolyn

      Amen. Scientists and God maybe on the same page one day. There is a Source aka God – too bad many choose to cut off the connection.

      February 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  14. Anglican

    God created, God creates, God sustains. The laws of physics, chemistry, genetics and evolution etc. are His creation. Peace.

    February 15, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Eric G.

      Can you provide any evidence to support your claims? You seem to be attempting to stand on the shoulders of scientific discovery while inserting your god as a cause. You will need to provide verifiable evidence to be taken seriously.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Anglican, that's a pretty bold statement, how do you know this, is it just as possible that man created God?

      February 15, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • you

      Watch "the size of the universe" on YouTube. You think we just came out of nowhere? The problem with us humans is that we're always looking for proof. If god wasn't real we wouldnt have morals. Science is a gift from God so we can understand and explain reality and the universe. Thats why we dont have magic freakin wands.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Anglican

      Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Just magical thinking.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • NL

      "Scripture, Tradition, and Reason."
      Reason, as long as it jives with scripture and tradition, right? Do you honestly think that religion is prepared to accept science's unbiased findings about spirituality?

      February 15, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Anglican, I would agree that Scripture and Tradition fits your theist, however, Reason dose not. Many have tried over the centuries to Reason their way to God, all have come up short. The main way they all failed is, if God created everything God has to be accountable for everything (the bad as well as the good) if God is responsible for the bad, then God could not be worthy of worship, see the dilemma? You might be right but if you are you should have at least one tiny bit of proof, (I believe because I believe is not proof, although it may be good enough for you).

      February 15, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • NL

      That's the problem with monotheism; when you take all the attributes and responsibilities that were shared by different gods, each with their own individual personality, and pile them all in the one god basket then all you end up with is scrambled God.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Maybe more of a god omelet, perhaps?

      February 15, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Anglican

      Quest. Reason is in the heart, and in experiences of the believer. Peace.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • NL

      You can say that the experiences of the believer make it reasonable for them as an individual to believe in God, and you can group everyone who has had an experience that led them to believe in God and call that proof that he exists, but you would also have to accept that flying saucers, Bigfoot, leprechauns and the like must also exist simply because many people believe they have experienced them too, right? The mind has been proven to be easily tricked which is why stage magicians are so enthralling, yes? What argument do you have to suggest that what people experience as the Holy Spirit isn't just the mind playing tricks on us?

      February 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Magic


      "Reason is in the heart, and in experiences of the believer."

      So is superst!tion. I have always brushed my teeth with my right hand - every single day. I have never been attacked by a bear (knock on wood!). So, I reason that from this long-term experience that right-handed tooth brushing must be the cause!?

      Cause and effect, absent testable and verifiable evidence, can be easily misinterpreted.

      February 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Estevan

      "God created, God creates, God sustains." Show me ANY credible and verifiable evidence and I will believe in god. There is none.

      "If god wasn't real we wouldnt have morals.". I don't have a god and I have morals. Every society I know of had morals. We wouldn't have survived as a species if there wasn't a biological impetus for self-preservation. Show me any evidence that morals come from god. You can't. There is no such real evidence.

      "Scripture, Tradition, and Reason." How are any of these evidence of the existence of a god? Scripture is simply stories written by human beings to explain away things they did not yet understand and use as tools to control other men. Traditions are rituals and beliefs passed down from one generation to the next – we often find variance from generation to generation and there are many traditions influenced by other cultures. Reason is an ability to reach conclusions through the use of various brain functions – it certainly does not come from the heart as you say (open a biology textbook) but is entirely a result of our brains. None of these three things are evidence for a god or gods.

      Again...if there were gods there would probably be several of them. Personally I choose to venerate Bacchus. Much more fun than your stiff. Oh, and Thor. Wonder who would win: Jesus (nailed to a cross) vs Thor (carries a big hammer)? Easy. Thor wins!

      February 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • RosaFranklin

      Eric: People who believe in God cannot provide "evidence" of God. It never fails to amaze me how many people, upon hearing someone say that God is behind everything, will say "Prove it." That's exactly the point (not to mention, the definition) of faith. You CANNOT prove anything. You take it on faith. If that's not something you want to do, then you don't have to take anything on faith; life is beautiful as it is. But other people do take the idea that there is something more and a conscious purpose behind it on faith, and it makes their lives richer. That's fine, too. But it's rather pointless to get into a debate regarding proof of God. If one person sees what they believe to be proof of God, someone else will see the same thing as perfectly explainable by current or future science, or coincidence. You'll just go in circles when you debate like that. Personally, I come down on the side of God/the Force/Some Higher Power. But can I offer you proof something like that exists? Of course not. It's a matter of faith. That's not to say that discussions of faith vs. atheism shouldn't exist; I think there's great value to both sides in such discourse. But you can't just ask for evidence, since that's by definition not how faith works.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • hilltop

      Take a look at the vastness of the universe and all of its intracacies, consider the billions of code in one strand of DNA. Any credible scientist begins with a blank slate and draws his conclusions based on facts observed. An unbiased observer cannot emphatically conclude that all of the unexplanable complexities evolved out of nothing. If he is honest and desires to be thorough, he must leave room for an omniscient creator.

      February 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Estevan

      Rosa: Taking anything of this importance and magnitude on faith alone is ridiculous. You say "If one person sees what they believe to be proof of God, someone else will see the same thing as perfectly explainable by current or future science, or coincidence." I don't know about you but I like to know the truth about things as much as I can. If someone decides to take something as proof of god when it is clearly explained by science then that person is a fool.

      It is worth debating the existence of god/gods/whatever because those beliefs inform people's actions today. Many people will make decisions made on these beliefs which are unsubstantiated and unproven. That funny feeling faith provides is the result of indoctrination and cultural upbringing...any religious person from any denomination believes that they are right. They can't all be right but they could all be wrong. It is lunacy for people to protest against abortion, tell people not to use contraceptive, discriminate against other religions, tell women to cover up, tell children to be ashamed of natural biological urges all on account of faith in something that cannot be "proven" or demonstrated.

      The day people stop acting out on their beliefs is the day I will stop questioning the existence of god.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Neal Sheppard

      It seems a common theme among non-believers is the word "magic". For them, somehow saying the word "magic" makes God seem less credible, or fairy tale-like. To those people I would say this: knowlegde and ability are relative. To our ancestors of 1000 years ago I'm sure our wireless technology of today would seem "magical". To animals, the human ability to think and reason are magical. The human race has not been around very long (relatively speaking) but already we have the ability to travel to other planets and to build artificially intelligent computers. Don't you think that a being who has been around for billions of years (or longer) would know how to do more things than we do, like maybe create life? Another poster put it correctly, it takes much more faith to believe that the millions of strands of human DNA were "randomly" thrown together than to believe in a being who has knowledge and ability far beyond our comprehension who designed and created us.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  15. Nonimus

    I agree with Eric, David, Mark, and Reality, the video sounds interesting, thanks.

    Mr. Chopra is doing the same thing that AIG, DI, and many others are doing, trying to co-opt 'science' to agree with their particular pseudo-scientific ideas. They present a lot of va.gue descriptions along with seemingly similar science and claim a connection when in reality there is no connection at all.
    "The physical building blocks of the universe... are actually clouds of energy, which ...disappear into the void that seems to be the source of creation."
    "Was mind also born in the same place outside space and time?"
    Quantum Biology
    They use false dichotomies:
    "Either atoms and molecules are smart, or something makes them smart."
    Along with other misleading approaches, they sell their pseudo-science/pseudo-faith to the gullible.

    February 15, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  16. Luke


    I don't think any "noisy atheists" will argue that there is a conflict between spiritually and science, which essentially negates the entire point the author makes. Since spiritually is a state of mind and foundationless in conviction and theory, no one that argues against the existence of god and gods would argue against the possibilities of science and spirituality coexisting. The "noisy atheists" (I'm actually taken back by this label, but more on that to come) argue against the possibility of defined gods in books and myths.

    The ironic part of this article is that the author wants the spiritual and science-folk to be friendly, but jabs at the atheist community. Doesn't the author realize that an absolutely overwhelming majority of scientists are atheists? How can we begin to be friends if he attacks us? I'm disappointed by that.

    February 15, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Well, apparently asking for the scientific proof the author seems to think will eventually be found makes us "noisy atheists".
      There are absolutely no real scientists that would deny anything that can be objectively demonstrated to exist. Whether it be a "god/universal intelligence" or even telekinesis.

      On the other hand, expect massive skepticism until there is at least something at all to indicate there is such a thing. Just because so much of the universe is still mysterious to us (and keeps getting more so) does not imply a supernatural explanation. It just reminds our scientists to remain humble in our limited knowledge and that for all practical purposes we should not expect to ever be able to comprehend everything. Doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying, though.

      February 15, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • NL

      "The "noisy atheists" (I'm actually taken back by this label, ...)"
      Me too, but you know what they say, for a religious person to be labeled a radical they have to actually blow people up, but for an atheist to be labeled a radical all he has to do is open his mouth. We're being too uppity when we actually say out loud that we don't believe in gods. Chopra appears to prefer that we just sit quietly in our little corner.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Much like the way any minority tends to be viewed by the majority. We're fine as we do not make ourselves known and insist on being who we are openly.
      When the emperor has no clothes, no one appreciates the boy pointing it out.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Estevan

      The moment he called us "noisy atheists" he lost all credibility. Wait...he lost all credibility decades ago...

      Funny how when we try to get our message out we're "noisy" but when he does we should take him at his word.

      February 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  17. David Johnson

    Question by Deepak Chopra:
    "Was mind also born in the same place outside space and time? "

    There is no evidence that the mind was not the product of our evolution.

    There is no evidence that the mind resides outside the body. The brain contains all that we are. When the brain dies, we cease to exist. No soul. No afterlife.

    If the mind resided outside our bodies, then disease or injury or drugs that affect our brains, could not affect our thinking. But we know this is not true.

    My uncle died of Alzheimer's. His last days were spent drooling on his pillow. He had forgotten how to swallow.

    The religious want to find a place for their god, that cannot be proven empty. So, they place Him outside time and space. Safely hidden from prying eyes.

    Is Chopra suggesting pantheism?


    February 15, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Luke

      I find it funny that the new Christians (and other religious folk for that matter), say their god is outside of space and time. Of course, it took science to explain what space and time actually is. Prior to that, they said he was in the clouds of some shiat.

      February 15, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Epidi

      Most every Pagan knows that Deity lives in us and all around us as both physical (what we can see) and discorporate. Deity is not outside of space and time – it is made up of those very things and more. It exists in everything – air, fire, water, earth, spirit. If one looks at Deity like a diamond, with many facets, both good & bad, both rooted and ethereal, he/she will quickly realize how precious and precarious life is and that in all its embodiments is devine. Science is a wonderful tool for discovery of the devine in everything as it's methods are objective and has a formula to follow to measure the results. It is human kind's ego that colors how these discoveries are received and translated by the masses. We think we are the best and brightest among all things/beings. But are we really? How arrogant to think so.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • BRod

      David Johnson: you are as bad as Deepak Chopra. You believe firmly that their is no god, afterlife, or soul and Deepak believes that there is. Both of you are merely speculating – nothing more.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • MarkinFL

      It is human kind's ego that tries to create more than is clearly in front of us. Science is the absence of ego in the face of reality. Religion is an attempt to raise humans above the reset of reality. The ultimate ego trip, is believing that there is an Omipotent, Omniscient deity that care what you personally are doing in your bedroom. THAT is massive ego to the Nth degree!

      February 15, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Is it speculation to not believe in fairies, unicorns and Santa Clause?

      An absence of evidence is the common theme here. Until there is an actual reason to believe something, there is no reason to do so at all. Do you believe everything until it is proven false? If so, you must believe in a LOT of weird stuff.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Epidi

      @MarkinFL Hahaha! So right about what Deity cares about what we do in the bedroom. The path one chooses is thier own – either a higher road or a lower one. Nature neither loves us nor hates us – she just gives us everything we need. What we do with the bounty is up to us. Our time on this planet has been so short it is like a speck of sand on a beach. If we screw it up we won't be the first (or last) species to go out. Luckily life always finds a way and something will come along to replace it's niche. To me, that is the divinity of being – human or not.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  18. MarkinFL

    "The real goal of a new science will be to expand our reality so that spiritual truths are acceptable, along with many other subjective experiences that science has long dismissed as unreliable."

    Respectfully, no.

    The goal of science will always remain simply to understand the universe in objective, reality based terms. If it happens that there really are "spiritual" aspects as described in the above article then that will be completely compatible with a scientific understanding of the universe.
    An individual scientist or group of scientists may have such goals(maybe even call it "new" science, who knows), however, it seems a bit much to assume that the "goal" of science would be focused on such a quest. But, if these subjective experiences can be explained in objective terms then it will just be more scientific knowledge, once again expanding our REAL knowledge of the world we live in.

    Sounds a bit like trying to drive science with wishes, which has had pretty limited success in the past.

    February 15, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  19. Reality


    If you have not already done so, please watch Julia Sweeney's monologue "Letting Go of God". You are one of the "stars" in the show.

    To wit:

    "I was so intrigued with this quantum mechanics that Deepak refers to over and over and over again in his books, that I decided to take a class in it.

    And what I found is-Deepak Chopra is full of sh__!"

    Julia Sweeney, Letting Go of God

    (Ex-Catholic) Julia Sweeney's monologue "Letting Go Of God" will be the final nail in the coffin of religious belief/faith and is and will continue to be more effective than any money-generating book or your "Ultimate Happiness Prescription".

    Buy the DVD or watch it on Showtime. Check your cable listings.

    from http://www.amazon.com

    "Letting Go of God ~ Julia Sweeney (DVD – 2008)

    Five Star Rating

    February 15, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • David Johnson

      "Letting Go of God ~ Julia Sweeney (DVD – 2008)!

      I totally agree with Reality! Sweeney is a master! Everyone should watch this video.


      February 15, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Fred

      I loved "Letting Go of God." That was great.
      "Religulous" was funny too, and touched on the same topic with a more in your face type approach.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • BRod

      Julia Sweeney is a comedian – she has about as much credibility on the topic of quantum physics as Deepak Chopra does....

      February 15, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Gordy

      Julia Sweeney's greatest contribution was "It's Pat" from her SNL days.

      Those are the videos everyone should watch!

      February 15, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Estevan

      "Julia Sweeney is a comedian – she has about as much credibility on the topic of quantum physics as Deepak Chopra does...."

      You're right. She has no credibility on the topic of quantum physics.

      BUT she echoes what many people have learned for themselves: a little bit of education from credible sources helps dispel the bull plop that people like Chopra feed the gullible.

      February 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • NL

      "Julia Sweeney is a comedian – she has about as much credibility on the topic of quantum physics as Deepak Chopra does...."
      She has as much credibility on quantum physics as your average pastor does, but that doesn't stop them either. Actually, if I didn't know they were trying to be serious in what they say I'd be hard pressed to see a difference between pastors and stand-up comedians.

      February 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  20. Eric G.

    "We are conscious beings who live with purpose and meaning. It seems unlikely that these arose form a random, meaningless universe. The final answer to where they came from may shake science to its core. I certainly hope it does."

    I would have expected more from Mr. Chopra. The terms "seems unlikely" and "hope it does" are evidence that his view is biased and he is still inserting his "god" where his understanding of science ends. This is both an argument from ignorance and dishonesty. His questions are sound, but his theory lacks any supporting evidence. I do have a great deal of respect for the author, but this effort is weak.

    February 15, 2011 at 7:23 am |
    • Skeptic

      He has ZERO understanding of science. All he knows is pseudo science and quackery. The man has no credibility in faith or science. He's a wishy washy loony toon.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • El Kababa

      There are no spiritual truths. There is no alternate, non-material reality. There are no invisible gods watching us like we watch characters on TV. More precisely, if there is a non-material reality, we have no evidence of it. No one has seen it, touched it, heard it, or been there.

      It is possible that there is a tree somewhere on some planet that grows Snicker bars in place of fruit. I can't think of any reason to believe that there is such a tree. The burning bush was a dream or a fantasy in Moses' mind – except there probably never was a Moses. Yahweh existed in Jesus' mind and in the minds of other believers – but no where else.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • LauraJT

      His statment: "That something, I believe, will come down to a conscious universe." is flawed, not necessarily because he has no scientific evidence to back it up (although that is a factor). It is flawed simply because he sounds like a child having a temper tantrum, as in, I WANT it that way and therefore it must be true.

      Perhaps the universe IS conscious. If so, why not gather scientific evidence to prove it or wait for the scientific community to do so? It just sounds like so much bull that he's trying to be seen as an ominprescient Guru instead of trying to have an honest discussion about anything.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Amanda

      Why are we here? From where did we originate? What is our purpose?

      We already have the answers. We just need to find them within ourselves. Kabbalah is the guide to reaching the answers.

      February 15, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • MarkinFL

      The answer is actually pretty easy.

      Babies and good beer. (I mean the second part of the answer somewhat metaphorically)

      February 15, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • AWMessenger

      I'm not a fan of the new format in comments. A little Chopra and a little ganja = TOTAL CHAOS. I know this from experience ... dude.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:44 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.